Portfolio advice day in association with UAL
Cleveland College of Art & Design students Caitlin Brame, 17, of Northallerton, Adam Shaw, 20, of Stockton and Sophie Babor-Puplett, 18, of Stockton, who are hoping to gain places at university with The Northern School of Art staff member Carl Rosati
ASPIRING young designers have been drawing up plans for the future with expert guidance on gaining access to higher education.
Hundreds of A-Level and BTEC art students from across the North East descended on mima, Middlesbrough’s Institute of Modern Art, for free workshop sessions and impartial advice to help them gain a place at university.
Hosted by Cleveland College of Art & Design, the Portfolio Advice Day is part of a wider initiative begun by University of the Arts London (UAL) and is aimed at students with no family background in higher education.
Head of widening participation programmes at UAL Jackie McManus set up Portfolio Advice Day eight years ago, aimed at students from working class backgrounds, specifically those whose parents did not attend university, to give them the information and tools they need to win a place on an art and design degree course.
“It was apparent to us that students from more privileged backgrounds seemed able to access the advice they needed to increase their chances of gaining a university place,” she said. “So this programme was specifically designed to help even out the playing field.
“Initially PAD started out in London but being a Northern girl myself, from Saltburn, I wanted to develop it nationally and bring it home to Teesside.”
Tutors and industry professionals from universities on Teesside and in Sunderland, York and London, spent the day creating fresh new work. They also delivered invaluable advice on editing and presenting portfolios, course structures and working towards a career in the creative industries, covering a range of disciplines such as fine art, fashion and textiles, design, illustration and photography.
The Northern School of Art PAD project co-ordinator Nicky Peacock said: “The Northern School of Art is delighted to be partnering UAL, Tate Britain and mima in helping students from non-traditional backgrounds to access higher education.
“I was the first person in my family to study in higher education and whilst I had encouragement, I had no access to relevant knowledge, so I certainly understand how helpful an event like this can be. I think it would have made a world of difference to me at 17.”
With the North East having the lowest higher education participation rate in the country, The Northern School of Art’s Portfolio Advice Day is set to become an annual event with even more schools and colleges from across the region getting involved.
The Northern School of Art fine art student Adam Shaw, 20, of Stockton, said: “I grew up being told that going to university wasn’t important and that getting a job or a career was.
“But my aspirations were always to go into higher education and I didn’t want to be part of another generation that missed out on going university.
“I want to set a new pattern for a new generation, gain more knowledge and travel the world and university will be my ticket to doing that.”